|The Battle of Mariupol, almost 2 years ago. Death and destruction, which the world ignored.|
"...Mariupol is a tempting target for the leaderships of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’. . . .seizing Mariupol would be an important step to make a frozen separatist-occupied Donbas economically viable. Mariupol is the port through which much of the steel and other industrial products of the Donbas are exported. Mariupol is also key if the Russians desire a land bridge to Crimea. While taking the land bridge would be doable for the Russian army, holding it would prove costly. It would mean occupying a strip of territory 300 kilometers long, territory that has not shown great sympathy for the separatists or the idea of ‘Novorossiya.’ The Russian army would have to garrison the territory to fend off almost certain partisan attacks." Brookings Institute, March 2015
|Loyal to Ukraine, Mariupol continues to protest|
Russian aggression. The war's taken its toll..
Back to Mariupol on the Sea of Azov and access to the strategic Black Sea. Back to Russia's unmitigated and unstopped war in Ukraine, a country now encircled by heavily armed Russian troops that can strike anywhere, anytime, and do. The Minsk agreement is a sham and has been a sham from the beginning, with the obscene and brutal destruction of Debaltseve, the strategic link between Lugansk and Donetsk. The western nations talk a lot, but actions speak louder than words, and no action makes any words meaningless.
Unless there is a will and a way to stop Putin's aggression, there is no end in sight. It's a sad commentary on international uselessness and helplessness in the face of illegal aggression that breaks accepted international treaties and the sanctity of international borders.
|Battle of Mariupol. War photos|
from Yahoo images,
and they are disturbing.
|The Battle of Mariupol. Senseless destruction, and a gruesome mass grave. |
That photo shocked me. I don't think the world was paying much attention,
unaware of how invasive and tragic this battle was (yahoo images).
The people of Mariupol remain loyal to Ukraine, and they let that be known time and again. It's hard to think that a crooked referendum could install a Russian- backed regime there, a regime that knows only how to be at war, not how to govern, as demonstrated in the Donbas. Mariupol does not want and will never welcome the Russian-supported brutal anarchy, the break down of civil society, that now dominate southern Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts.
|Olga at Starobelsk war protest.|
How can we allow such violence to continue, the killing fields of eastern Ukraine? How can we succumb to Putin's manipulation, lies and stealth? I hope the US and EU nations will not allow or sanction further aggression into other parts of Ukraine, and that includes Starobelsk, the village where I served with the Peace Corps and have friends living under the same threats as the brave citizens of Mariupol. "The stress is unbearable at times," my friend Olga writes, echoing Marat's sadness. "We do all we can to live normally, one day at a time. We are proud Ukrainians, and we are strong. But our hearts are broken; we weep in fear and in silence. Does anyone hear our cries?"